The Imperial Citadel
23 Thang 8 Street, Hue, Vietnam
The Imperial Citadel Hue Reviews
Ancient wanderings Nov 07, 2012
We went to the Hue Imperial Citadel while on a trip of the whole city. The entrance fee is minuscule and well worth the 2 hours you will spend wandering around the entire citadel.
The citadel was built in 1802-1804 by the emperor Gia Long in the former Vietnamese capital. The palace was a walled city surrounded by a moat.
The palace consisted of the emperors living quarters, gardens, courtyards and imposing buildings with colourful pagodas.
The citadel is spread out over a huge area and a lot of it has a very forlorn, abandoned feeling about it but the grandeur and scale of what it once was is clearly evident. Inside of the citadel is another large area called 'The Forbidden Purple City' which was the living quarters of the imperial family. These areas were especially beautiful.
A lot of it was bombed and shot during the war and apparently bullet holes are still visible in the facades of many of the buildings. The front entrance pagoda is especially rundown as there is scaffolding covering it which does not make for a great photograph unfortunately.
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Imperial Citadel of Hue Nov 23, 2008
If Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are the cultural and financial capitals of Vietnam respectively, then Hue is it's intellectual capital. And at the center of it all is The Imperial Citadel. A huge complex that contains the Forbidden City, royal palaces, pagodas and tombs.
Most impressive and the most famous landmark in the complex is the Ngo Mon Gate - the majestic entrance to the Citadel. Across it is the Cot Co (Flag Tower) where the Viet Cong flag briefly flew during the Tet Offensive in 1968.
The Citadel is pleasant area to explore by foot or by bike as larger vehicles are not allowed inside the complex. The areas within the Citadel that should not be missed are the following:
Dien Thai Hoa (Palace of Supreme Harmony): Being the throne palace, this is one of the most important structures in Hue. This is where major ceremonies are held in the past.
The Mieu (Dynastic Temple): Where the anniversaries of the Emperors are still being celebrated until today.
The Nine Dynastic Urns: Hue craftmanship at it's finest. Each is dedicated to an emperor. If you notice, they all have slightly different handles and feet.
The Forbidden Purple City: Destroyed by wars, only a handful buildings remain in the heart of the Imperial City. It is said to have contained the residential palaces, and the living quarters for the nine ranks of concubines.
The Royal Library: This elegant little building is now a concert and theatre venue.
The Citadel is quite unusual since there's not quite a place where one can find sacred temples, beautiful palaces coexisting with moats, bastions and massive ramparts. Although much of the Citadel has been ravaged by wars, restoration is under way to reveal how grand it once was.
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